Bingo halls and casinos drag down owner revenue

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  • Mecca Bingo and Grosvenor Casino venues were a drag on profits for Rank
  • Rank blamed tough high street environment for a 1% fall in venue revenue
  • Operating profit soared 56% as a result of popular online gaming sites 

Louise Hill For This Is Money

Mecca Bingo halls and Grosvenor Casinos have been hit by the squeezed pockets of Britons who have chosen to stay in and gamble online rather than splash the cash on an evening out.

Online takings helped power a rise in pre-tax profit for the Rank Group, the operator of Mecca and Grosvenor, in the last six months of 2017 with revenue from online channels up 16 per cent in the six months to December 31 last year.

Operating profit soared as result, up 56 per cent to £11.4million.

Revenue at the group's venues were down one per cent in the second half of 2017

Revenue at the group’s venues were down one per cent in the second half of 2017

Its venues were a drag on performance, with the tough high street environment blamed for a 1 per cent fall in revenues on a like-for-like basis.

It seems even the casino industry is not immune to the pressures facing Britons as higher inflation and subdued wage rises leave them with less money to spend.

The struggle at physical venues for the Rank Group continued with the opening of three new ‘Luda’ venues – a bingo-led high street gaming venue – its results revealed.

Refresh: Even the brand's new Luda venues opened last year have fallen below expectations

Refresh: Even the brand's new Luda venues opened last year have fallen below expectations

Refresh: Even the brand’s new Luda venues opened last year have fallen below expectations

Progress at the Luda hall opened in Walsall last year was ‘below expectations’, Rank said, adding it was too soon to judge how the venues opened in Weston-Super-Mare and Leeds had fared so far.

The new ‘modern’ venues include a coffee shop and bar as well as bingo games, slots and arcade games in town and city centres.

Online gambling bolstered profits with huge growth for its casino and bingo channels

Online gambling bolstered profits with huge growth for its casino and bingo channels

Online gambling bolstered profits with huge growth for its casino and bingo channels

With online powering performance, Rank has set its sights on expanding its internet offering with the launch of bellacasino.com, a slots-led digital casino brand, in February.

Luda.com, set to complement the new Luda venues, will be launched later in 2018.

Following the UK government’s recent attention on gambling and slot machines, Rank also announced it will trial limit-setting on slot machines with plans to share its findings with the industry.

Overall, the company said trading in the four-week period to January 28 had been in line with its expectations.

It was trading 0.88 per cent down following the announcement, with shares down to 225p after a month on declines in January.

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